A few medicinal cannabis products can be prescribed by your doctor. This is the safest way for people with cancer to use it. 

What is medicinal cannabis?

Medicinal cannabis is cannabis and cannabinoid medicines that doctors can prescribe for their patients. It can also be called medical marijuana.

Your doctor is the best person to talk to about whether a medicinal cannabis product is a suitable treatment for you.

Cannabis for people affected by cancer

Some people with cancer use cannabis to help managing treatment symptoms, including:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • not wanting to eat
  • pain
  • sleeplessness   

The evidence on effectiveness of cannabis and its products in management of cancer symptoms is limited. There has been no scientific evidence that cannabis can treat cancer. 

If you want to use cannabis or its products to manage symptoms, please talk to your treatment team prior to use.

Use medicinal grade products.

Be aware that use of cannabis or its products can cause side effects and your treatment team will provide the best advice on it.

Getting a medicinal cannabis prescription

You need a prescription from a doctor before you can get any medicinal cannabis product.

Your doctor will know your medical history, including any other medicines you are taking, and tell you about the risks and benefits of using medicinal cannabis products.

Once you have a prescription, the doctor or a pharmacy will dispense the product to you.

You cannot purchase medicinal cannabis products online or from a third party.

Cannabis for palliative care

There is a legal exemption for people with a life-limiting condition to use non-medical cannabis or marijuana.

For this exemption, people requiring palliation are those ‘who have an advanced progressive life-limiting condition and are nearing the end of their life.’

You will need a medical certificate stating you require palliative care from your doctor or nurse. 

As a palliative patient, you have a legal defence against being charged for obtaining, possessing, and using cannabis. However, you cannot import cannabis. 

 

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Last updated: August 1, 2022